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USG unveils proposal on piloting the Independent Commission for Voices in Crises

22 Apr 2021

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Internally displaced women and children in Mogadishu, Somalia (file photo). © Giles Clarke/Getty Images Reportage

At a virtual event held today by the Center for Global Development, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, outlined a proposal to improve accountability within the humanitarian aid sector and to help ensure that people in crisis get the help they actually want.

The document – Piloting the Independent Commission for Voices in Crises (ICVIC) – sets out a proposal for the ICVIC, whose purpose would be to help shift the international humanitarian response towards one that delivers what people want rather than what it can provide.

The ICVIC would pilot approaches to elevating and making more visible the priorities and needs identified by affected people to senior decision makers, and to independently evaluate how well the international humanitarian response delivers against those needs.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Lowcock highlighted that over the past decade, there has been growing recognition that affected people should have more say over the type of help they get and how they get it.

“So, it is not only morally the right the thing to do to give people more say. It gives people greater dignity and control over their lives. It will also make our system more efficient, and it will offer financiers better value for money if we do more of the things people say they want us to do,” he said.

The UN humanitarian chief said that the ICVIC would have four objectives:

  • It would issue public reports on the needs prioritized by people in a given crisis and advocate with senior-level decision makers on those needs.
  • It would grade the Humanitarian Response Plan as soon as it is issued on how well the planning and programming responds to needs identified by affected people, so we can see as early as possible whether people are being listened to.
  • It would review and publish interim findings to highlight evolving needs and promote course correction during the course of responding to a crisis by aid organizations.
  • It would publicly evaluate and grade the humanitarian response to independently assess ex post how well the response matched people’s needs and priorities.

Mr. Lowcock’s full remarks at the event are available online.